- 法哲学年報 (ISSN:03872890)
- vol.2005, pp.58-70,198, 2006-10-30 (Released:2010-02-15)
The present paper reconstructs the idea of rule of law as a response to the persistence of human conflicts and defends it against the criticism that it hides and speciously rationalizes the rule of men. It is pointed out that Hobbes, who correctly rejected Coke's perception of rule of law as a groundless defense of social tyranny of feudal powers including religious forces, provided a deep insight into the problem of human conflicts which even the Hobbesian social contract cannot overcome. This insight is developed by arguing that the establishment of the state as a collective decision making system and enforcement mechanism cannot prevent the persistent human con-flicts from degenerating into the violent clashes in the state of nature unless the state's power structure is subjected to the governance of the principles which enables the losers of the strife in political decision making process to accept its outcomes as something beyond the victor's justice and pay deference to the winners. The rule of law is reinterpreted and defended as constituting the governance of such principles. This implies that the rule of law constitutes the conditions of the legitimacy of law as distinguished form its rightness. A further elaboration of this point is given by showing that Jeremy Waldron's normative-positivist defense of the dignity of democratic legislation as a response to “the circumstances of politics” helps to clarify the distinction between the legitimacy and rightness of law although it fails to solve the question of what constitutes the conditions of legitimacy. It is concluded that an adequate answer to this question is provided by the “strong structural interpretation” of rule of law. The rule of law on this interpretation protects the proto-right to justice-review of the outcomes of constitutional as well as legislative strife and subjects them to the test of the universalizable and reversible justification which underlies competing conceptions of justice as their common conceptual core.